Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Book Review: June 2009

The figure just refuses to budge: 2. And this month the coveted place goes to:

  1. The Gift by Cecelia Ahern
  2. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by Scott Fitzgerald

The Gift
Cecelia Ahern

The blurb is short (if it’s a blurb at all): If you could wish for one gift this Christmas, what would it be? And from my point of view it’s definitely inviting. The introduction is nice too. It closes with the following words – ‘This is a story about people who, not unlike parcels, hide secrets. They cover themselves in layers until the right person unwraps them and discovers what’s inside. Sometimes you have to be unravelled in order to find out who you really are.’ And there, I had to buy the book as it had aroused my curiosity enough.

The Gift is a nice story. In fact it is even gripping. I finished the book in 5 hours straight because I found it hard to put it down. I found myself saying, ‘Ok just one more chapter and then I’ll sleep.’ It keeps you wondering about the next event that’ll take place in the life of the protagonist Lou – a workaholic and ambitious person who is running around practically the whole time. Even while he is in the middle of something he is thinking about the next meeting or appointment and never finds himself relaxing or spending quality time with his family. The reader finds that he’s lost track of what is most important to him in life and the arrival of Gabe, who constantly reminds Lou of what he is missing, is a welcome addition to the narrative. And it is Gabe who awakens his sleeping conscience and has him doing the right things to his utmost irritation. An insecure Lou perceives Gabe as a threat when Gabe is in fact his saviour of sorts. The story progresses in this manner as a Tug-of-War between Lou’s liking and dislike of Gabe and keeps the reader guessing till the end.

There is a bit of fantasy in the story (if one perceives it that way). And I felt the focal story of Lou and Gabe hasn’t been woven very well into the supporting story (a police officer narrating a moral story to a teenager who has been caught for vandalism). But that can be excused given that the focal story by itself is quite nice and has a very simple yet strong message – the value of time and how we all have a limited amount of it.

I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a nice Christmas story and is willing to be hit hard by the paucity of time on our hands. I enjoyed this book quite well and hope you do too.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Scott Fitzgerald

Ok, this is not a book-book but it’s a story. Yet, I’m making it count.

I saw the movie first and then got curious about this curiously titled story. I realized that the movie and the story hardly have anything in common other than Benjamin Button who grows young as he grows old. The story isn’t even that spectacular, doesn’t tug at your heart the way the movie does…its didn’t leave me with a sad feeling the way the movie did. It’s just a story…hilarious in parts…but that’s that. There’s no clock that goes back in time, no boy given up on the steps of the old age home, no adorably sweet Queenie, no childhood sweetheart to marry later in life and have a baby girl with, nothing…so the movie is really very remotely based on the story.

Anyway, read this as an independent work altogether. I kept drawing parallels with the movie and spoiled it for myself : (

4 Thinkers Pondered:

Priya Iyer said...

"They cover themselves in layers until the right person unwraps them and discovers what’s inside. Sometimes you have to be unravelled in order to find out who you really are" - that is so so so so true! loved the blurb, and i am sure i am gonna get this book for myself.. :) i loved ps i love you by cecelia ahern and am a sucker for decent mush :)

have been meaning to read the benjamin button story too since long.. will do it soon :)

thanks for the great reviews. very crisply written..

Anupama said...

Hey Priya!

I had liked PS I Love You in parts too, especially because it was about letter-writing...I just wished for it to end better, like on a hopeful note where Holly concretely incorporates Gerry's wishes/suggestions in her life...

Thanks for the comment :)

Smita said...

Aha!!!

A fren has "The Gift" I will borrow it from her :-) am in a mood to read a light book.

The 2nd book I will skip :-)

Nice reviews

Anupama said...

Hey Smita!

Yeah Benjamin Button is totally skippable actually...it is one of those old style short stories you know which might not even get anywhere...I'm still wondering what the point of the story was and the movie in that sense is far better

Enjoy 'The Gift' :) and thanks for the comment...